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Dear Predator Pilot,
We have noticed on some early Predators that the sheath joining the two cables of the haul-back cable assembly has failed allowing the two cables to move separately during set-up and fold-down. This creates a potential safety problem.
If one cable goes forward without the other (during fold-down) the lagging cable can kink in front of the "nico" at the haul-back tang. A sharp bend in the cable can reduce its breaking strength. In an extreme case the cable can break from repeated bending and straightening each time the glider is set up and folded down. Please note that this cable has a back-up restraint cable on the cross spar that must be connected to the keel stud before flight.
The haul-back cable assembly consists of two cables that run forward from the haul-back tang. It is important that these two cables stay together during fold-down. In the original design the two cables were fixed together by a short piece of heat-shrinkable tubing and a small "zip tie". This method of holding the cables together has proven to be inadequate and in some cases has allowed the two cables to separate. A continuous piece of plastic tubing covering the two cables from the haul-back tang at the rear, to the haul-back rope thimble at the front covering a distance of approximately 32 inches solves this problem.
We have developed a retro-kit that you can install on your existing cable assembly to preclude the potential hazard. For the purpose of this retro-fit we will use a 3 to 1 shrink-ratio polyolefin dual-wall glue-lined shrink tube. The high shrink-ratio allows the use of a diameter large enough to slip over the haul-back tang, but that will shrink small enough to grip the two cables. The "hot glue" will activate during shrinking to form an integral assembly.
The retro-fit involves sliding the 32" shrink-tube over the haul-back cables and shrinking it into place with a hot-air gun. This is done without removing the cable from the glider.
Please perform a careful inspection of your haul-back cable assembly. If either of the cables of your haul-back cable assembly is kinked, please contact UP for a replacement cable assembly. If your cables are not bent or kinked, please contact us to request a retro kit (free of charge). The kit will include a 32 inch piece of shrink tube and a diagram with instructions for installation. It is very important that this retro-fit be done on any Predator that does not have a plastic tube covering the haul-back cables at the rear of the keel.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.